Are you tired of complaining to family and friends about things you feel powerless to change? Or, as college costs continue to climb and student loan debts increase, do you or someone you know feel helpless that your opinion could make a positive change?
If you answered yes, know that the federal government is giving you a chance – now through May 27 – to speak up during an important public comment period. Specifically, the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) wants to learn more about the quality of career education programs. These programs, offered by a variety of for-profit colleges, have raised concerns about greater student debt and poor employment outcomes. These schools are also large beneficiaries of federal student loan dollars.
If enough collective voices – organizations, educators, consumers and others – speak in support of consumer protections, for-profit colleges' 'rules of the road' can and will change for the better.
As state lawmakers, the issues we talk about at the Capitol in Nashville tend to tackle statewide problems, with ideas for all of Tennessee, from Memphis to Kingsport.
But this year, we passed a different kind of law, one that will lead to some positive changes right in your own neighborhood.
Unfortunately, some of our neighborhoods in Memphis aren't as great as they can be. The Neighborhood Preservation Act gives older, established neighborhoods here in Memphis a way to reinvest and revitalize.
What this law does is adapts an idea that's common in newer neighborhoods but hasn't been available in older and more established areas. If you've ever been in a homeowner's association, you'll know what I'm talking about.
In life, much like in the NBA, playing a reactionary defense can often result in overplaying your position and ultimately losing the game itself.
As we continue to wonder at the media train wreck that Donald Sterling's life has become, too many will lose sight of the possibility that some truth may be buried in the morass of his most recent comments and his direct attack on Magic Johnson.
To be clear, Donald Sterling is, by multiple definitions, a racist.
As millions of Americans celebrate their newfound status as medically "insured" through the Affordable Care Act, they may still join the ranks of financially strapped patients facing the rising cost of medical services.
Fifty-eight percent of Americans reported foregoing or delaying medical care in the past year because, even with insurance, they could not afford the portion of the bill that they were expected to pay. And while many are familiar with the vague concepts of costly prescriptions and expensive tests, the reality can be found in $300 tooth extractions, $200 office visit fees because deductibles had yet to be met, and insured patients who lose their homes attempting to pay the out-of-pocket portion of medical expenses.
The New England Journal of Medicine announced in 2013 that physicians should be obligated to discuss out-of-pocket costs as a "side effect" to treatment when they make decisions about their patients' care. The journal considered this discussion as imperative to reigning in the costs of care. The concern was that healthcare providers often neglected to discuss potential costs before ordering diagnostic tests, saddling the patient with "daunting and potentially avoidable healthcare bills," wrote journal author Peter A. Ubel, M.D., a professor of business administration and medicine and public policy at Duke University in Durham, N.C.
(G.A. Hardaway, a Democrat, represents the 93rd District in the Tennessee General Assembly, including part of Shelby County and the City of Memphis. He is currently the Secretary of the Tennessee Black Caucus of State Legislators. On Friday, he released this commentary.)
Today, in my beloved Memphis, the Republican National Committee is continuing their spring meeting. Among the various decisions being made and events taking place is one of particular interest to me: a luncheon featuring a keynote speech from Kentucky Tea Party senator Rand Paul.
That Sen. Paul is speaking at a GOP luncheon is not at all notable; what is notable is that he is doing it here in Memphis, not one mile from the place where, on April 4, 1968, our city and our country was forever changed.
A quote similar to the one in this commentary's headline was coined and made popular 62 years ago (the year one of us was born) by Art Linkletter, the popular pioneer daytime talk show host in the early years of television. But Art said, "Kids say the darndest things."
There are big differences between the things white dudes say and the things kids say. The things white dudes say are not as cute and the things kids say are not as predictable. The prevailing similarity to kids, however, among more and more high profile white dudes is the lack of a filter so what comes up, comes out...especially regarding race.
The latest example is Chris "Mad Dog" Russo's declaration on his Sirius XM show that there are no black hosts whom he would deem "worthy" of doing a national sports radio show on a subscription radio service such as Sirius XM. And, if they could find one with the right resume, of course they would hire him.
The cold facts stare us in our face:
Fact 1: More than 300 girls were abducted from the rural northeast region of Nigeria on April 15 while attending secondary school; 276 are still believed to be held captive.
Fact 2: The federal government has yet to forcibly intervene to get our girls back.
The issue isn't just that the government hasn't fully addressed this atrocity, the deeper questions are: What decisive action is necessary to put a stop to what is becoming a normal occurrence? Does the Nigerian government have what it takes and what it needs to make this happen?